Pets are members of the family

Is there a more reflective time of year than that of the days between Christmas and New Years? Sitting in the solitude before dawn, having tended to the needs of our three canine treasures, the stillness of the moment begs for said reflection.

The joys of being with family have morphed into thoughts of responsibilities, and sadly, pangs of grief over losses and disappointments, and of an awareness of some unpleasant times, some near, some far ahead.

For animal lovers, the unbridled joy they offer brings some comfort, does it not? We have them, they have us, unconditionally. The bond is unique and extremely welcomed. We have said it time after time, haven’t we? Our animals are family. Not just like family, but family.


As you travel west on Main Street in Valley Center, crossing Sheridan Street, you will notice a wooded area on your right. It seems out of place because it becomes residential after a couple of hundred yards. Those woods are home to 15, give or take at any given time, feral cats. They are supported by me, my wife Betsy, and fellow Valley Center Animal League members and neighbors Carl and Mindy Crossette.

The colony formed almost four years ago when, on the day we moved into our new home, there appeared a yellow and white adult cat. He is still here and the rest is history.

We have always done the trap, neuter, and return thing and as a result, had precious few kittens. There is no doubt that some of the 15 are misplaced, even lost, because the vast majority came as adults. We continually question where they came from and if you or someone you know is missing a cat, it might be here.

We have at least one who we know has a home but is “double dipping” us and eating both here and at home. However, he paid a price because we TNR’d him!

One of our neighbors is not cat friendly and he alone keeps the colony wary by tormenting them at every opportunity. We exchange unpleasantries with him over that issue. Other neighbors vary between very supportive and somewhat tolerant of our cause. We respect all of there views.

The league’s annual father-daughter dance this year will offer a meal, a DJ, door prizes, silent auctions and a long list of other surprises that make it a special treat for the daughters. Our members and sponsors go all out for these items, and fathers will enjoy the fun that comes with taking home a special memory for their daughters.

Tickets are $25 each (cash or check, please) and are available Jan. 7 at Anne’s Attic, 205 S. Meridian, and Paw Prints, 108 N. Ash Street.

Corsages are also available at the ticket locations, or can be purchased at the door. Our sponsors include: The Ark Valley News, Valley Offset Printing and House Call Medical Services.

Follow us on Facebook at Valley Center Animal League. Your support is greatly appreciated, and keep those aluminum cans coming!

Ed Varner is a member of the Valley Center Animal League. Reach him at or 616-7487.

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